Have you ever had the thought that you are stuck in a life where you feel trapped by your own emotions?
This time last year I was there. Completely stuck and feeling lost. Lost in a world I had created for myself. Lost in doing everything for everyone else in my life. Stuck in a routine I hated, in a job that was taking over my world, and stuck in the pattern of a life many of us create for ourselves without stopping.
I used to call it the roundabout. The roundabout I really wanted to get off but didn’t know how. Since my 20’s I’d been on this ride, got married had two children, climbed the career ladder and suddenly I was 45. I felt almost out of control but I didn’t know how to change anything. I was in a senior role at work handling a restructure, two children who were almost grown up and various deep personal challenges. I was spending stupid hours on my working week, not nearly anywhere near enough time for family and the only time I got for me was pretty much when I was in the bathroom. I thought to myself regularly that this was the life I had chosen as a working mum so maybe I deserved it all somehow? Surely my life was OK, not that bad and I should be happy shouldn’t I? But something felt off. I knew somewhere deep inside that I wasn’t living my truth.
But maybe the truth was that I had created these experiences I was living out, so therefore I should just ride the roundabout until something awful happened and then I might have to get off for a bit to have a rest. What was making me feel so over stressed and emotional?
Through around ten years of feeling this way, my emotions were pushed down, I didn’t address them. I guess I just didn’t allow myself to feel. Instead I just kept swallowing them down, pretending I was ‘OK’ ‘fine’ ‘coping’. I’m sure everyone else was feeling like this anyway weren’t they? After all, nobody really finds their true purpose in life do they? So I kept the lid firmly on the bottle. After all I’d been working in a senior marketing role and had responsibilities both to my work and as a mum, daughter, partner, auntie, everything else under the sun…
But then slowly they started to seep out. At first it was during my monthly cycle – just PMT I thought. Then I’d start getting emotional at the songs on the radio, that movie, that advert. What the hell is wrong with me I thought? Why is everything feeling so worn right now? I went to the doctor who said I could be going through the peri menopause but after investigation the symptoms didn’t add up. Soon my physical symptoms started, back ache, migraines, stomach issues. And then came the anxiety attacks and they came in full force.
Then one day the top came off the bottle. It happened after a pretty normal conversation at work. Nothing particularly triggering. Just a question that made me question everything. My boss had given me a big project and I’d lost direction with it. She simply asked me ‘What happened?’
It was as if she had asked me what has happened to you? You used to be so good at everything, now you are failing…now you are a mess. Of course she hadn’t asked me that but this is what I ‘heard’.
I went home and fell to pieces over the next few days, my emotions spilled over and they came tumbling out. I realised this was not about me just feeling emotional. This was something much bigger.
The over spill of emotions were just a symptom of years of becoming disconnected with myself. Years of not listening to my needs, not setting boundaries, not speaking my truth.
This was about my WHOLE life, my bigger picture. My life was not MY life. It was everyone elses life. In that moment I realised, I’d been living for everyone else. I had forgotten ME. I didn’t know who I was anymore and the stress and emotional state was just a symptom of that.
Who the hell was I anyway? I wasn’t being truthful with myself.
That story is for another day, but for now a question for you. Do you push down your emotions? Do you ignore what is really bothering you deep down?
Do you feel like it all might spill over one day? Take my advice and listen to yourself.
And this is when my journey began…my journey to knowing my absolute TRUTH. And this is where your journey can begin too.